We, the undersigned taxpayers of the Town of Smithfield Rhode Island, believe that the purpose of education is to educate a populace of critical thinkers who are capable of shaping a just and equitable society in order to lead good and purpose-filled lives, not solely to prepare for college and career. We are agreed that:
-Instructional and curricular decisions should be in the hands of classroom professionals who understand the context and interests of their students.
-Rhode Island General Laws § 16-2-9(a)(1) and (7) gives locally elected school committees the authority to identify the educational needs of the community, and approve a master plan for the goals and objectives of the school system that identifies what men and women should know and be able to do as a result of their educational experience.
-The education of children should be grounded in developmentally appropriate practice.
-The Common Core State Standards were developed and promoted by test and curriculum publishers as well as education reform foundations such as the Gates and Broad Foundations. The CCSS reflect the interests and priorities of corporate education reformers, not the interests and priorities of teachers, parents, and students in Smithfield, Rhode Island in derogation of Rhode Island General Laws § 16-2-9(a)(1) and (7).
-The Common Core State Standards are governed by a copyright held by private organizations and, therefore, can not be changed to meet the needs of the students of Smithfield, Rhode Island, in derogation of Rhode Island General Laws § 16-2-9(a)(1) and (7).
-The Common Core State Standards were adopted by the Rhode Island Department of Education without the knowledge and/or approval of the Town of Smithfield School Committee, in derogation of Rhode Island General Laws § 16-2-9(a)(1) and (7) Similarly, they were adopted without the knowledge of the taxpayers in the Town of Smithfield.
-No cost analysis for implementation was performed prior to adoption of the Common Core State Standards and presentation to taxpayers in the Town of Smithfield.
-The writers of the Common Core State Standards emphasize pedagogical techniques, such as close reading, out of proportion to the actual value of these methods on all kinds of reading materials
-The Common Core State Standards in math are benchmarked approximately two years behind international standards in math according to Dr. James Milgram, the only math standard specialist who was on the Common Core validation committee. Dr. Milgram refused to sign off on the Common Core State Standards.
-The assessment that accompanies the Common Core State Standards (PARCC) is not transparent in that teachers and parents in Smithfield, Rhode Island are not allowed to review the entire test before or after administration of the test.
-PARCC scores are to be used to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers in Smithfield even though the PARCC tests were not reviewed and approved by School Committee members in Smithfield, in derogation of the School Committee’s authority pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws § 16-2-9(a)(14) and (15) to determine standards for personnel and provide for their evaluation.
-No state or federal money can be legally withheld from a Town whose school board adopts its own educational standards because there is no statute in Rhode Island requiring local districts to use a test that is incompatible with locally adopted or approved local standards and curriculum.
We, the undersigned taxpayers of Smithfield, Rhode Island demand that the Smithfield School Committee as the legally elected local education authority :
-Vote to eliminate use of the Common Core State Standards in the Town of Smithfield, Rhode Island.
-Vote to adopt/develop new and stronger standards in ELA and math for the district by the start of the 2015-2016 school year.
-Authorize the superintendent and teaching staff in ELA and math to use as working blueprints for new standards the free ELA standards written by Sandra Stotsky and posted on her University of Arkansas webpage (based on the former Massachusetts ELA standards) and a set of math standards chosen by the high school mathematics staff from the following: Minnesota, California 1997, Indiana 2006, or Massachusetts 2000.
-Vote to direct the superintendent, all school administrators, and all teachers to adjust their K-12 curriculum to address the new standards for the 2014-2015 school year.
-Once new standards are developed and adopted, vote to refuse to administer any Common Core-aligned state tests on the grounds that they are incompatible with the locally adopted or approved standards and curriculum.
Signatories: The taxpayers or residents of Smithfield, Rhode Island.